Columbia, S.C. passes multimillion-dollar, multi-pronged relief package to offset economic woes
As the federal government prepares another stimulus package for the coronavirus-ravaged economy, South Carolina’s capital has also stepped up to offer an economic relief initiative for its city that includes multiple relief efforts.
On March 20, the Columbia, S.C. City Council voted to divert $6 million from its water and sewer funds into an economic sustainability plan called “A Resilient Columbia,” the Charleston Post and Courier reports.
“Right now, our focus as a city is to do as much as we possibly can to have an inward facing economy,” Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said, per the newspaper. “How, with a limited amount of resources, can we help sustain essential components of our economy?”
About $3 million of the package will go towards public safety, while $2 million is being allocated towards a small business and non-profit stabilization package, according to the newspaper.
A loan loss reserve fund that will give businesses forgivable loans will receive $1 million, while $500,000 will go specifically to a forgivable loan program dedicated to small businesses with under 100 employees, the Post and Courier reports. Another $500,000 will go towards critical nonprofit programs and $250,000 has been set aside for senior resources.
“This is a step by step approach,” Columbia Councilman Sam Davis said, per the Post and Courier. “It’s taking a look at everything that is possible within our means. Also, there is going to be a push and a need to be more collaborative with other entities, private or nonprofit.”
Other cities have passed more business-centric relief packages. On March 18, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced a $4 million economic relief packages targeted towards local businesses that the coronavirus pandemic had affected, KPBS reports. The city’s business revolving loan fund is being used to fund the package.
Salt Lake City gave initial approval to a $1 million business loan program on March 17, the Salt Lake Tribunereports. The city is expected to vote for full approval this week.